We made it! 18 hours after leaving our home in Ft Mill, SC we arrived at the 17th Arrondissement on Rue Nollet in Paris, France. Our first interaction beyond the man in the taxi and some airline folk was Amy from South Carolina. The nanny for the family who is renting us their apartment for our time here (and no, she’s not available to babysit, we asked). Life confirms once again it is indeed a small world.
One minor note about our world. We don’t all speak the same language. Never is that more apparent then when you are checking out of the Carrefour (think 1/16 of a Harris Teeter or Publix) and you think the clerk is telling you the lane is closed, but rather he’s letting you know that he doesn’t take cash. Ooh la la, is that sweat on my forehead? Nope, that’s the world saying admire our differences. Or at least the man saying, keep your Euros in your pocket. My initial response is to run back to the U.S. and embrace the comfort. But the clerk and I shared a moment, a connection and even a chuckle over it. That’s cool.
We’ve learned a few things in these first few hours of our adventure:
1. Cindy, through the purchase of three neck pillows, has our kids thinking walking through an airport wearing said neck pillows is totally normal. It isn’t by the way. Neither is 2 of the 3 kids not sleeping a wink on these pillows. Hmmm.
2. There are two camps of travelers in our family. Those who sleep on planes when it is night and those who don’t. Needless to say Charlie and I explored Paris today while the others napped and we created a new Twitter hashtag: #DontTalkToMom.
3. London – we hardly knew ye. In the 1.5 hours we spent in and around Heathrow airport we got to drive on the wrong side of the road, albeit on an airport bus going between terminals (my family’s reaction: meh?!?), we were delayed by protesters who barricaded themselves to the airport gates to bring more attention to climate change (attention granted) and we were served biscuits on the plane (pictured above) only for Charlie to exclaim: “hey, that’s not like at ‘BoJingos!'” I love that kid! He gets a CheddarBo upon re-entry to the U.S. It should also be noted that Charlie speaks VERY LOUD on an airplane, especially when sighting another plane “launching.” You’ve been warned. Bonus points if you can explain the mascot guy on the cookie, uh, biscuit wrapper.
4. Taxis make kids happy. Why do we own our own cars? Dreamiest family car ride ever. We might have to sell both cars when I get back home. This one had back seats that faced each other and the movie “The Jungle Book” playing. More than made up for the lack credit card reader and the extra stop at the ATM. Parlez-vous Uber?
5. Not even an ocean crossing can change some things: first things the kids (and adults) do upon getting into the apartment? Plug in the wifi password. Phew! Back on the grid again. By the way, you gotta love AirBNB – so much better than a hotel!
6. Charlie and me got up close and personal with some amazing chocolate-filled pastry thingy while solving important world issues such as why pigeons move their heads like chickens when they walk and what makes some pigeons in France brown (?!?). We are open to all answers.
7. Paris is pretty. No, not if you are judging by a dog’s business on the sidewalk. But balcony sunsets (and at 10pm!?!), cool internal staircases up four floors to your apartment and heavy wooden doors with hundreds of years of paint on it are all pretty special. We are truly blessed to have this opportunity as a family.
Each day or two I hope to share 6-8 pictures and a few stories about our trip. For those of you who worry about the pending robbery that could take place at our house, no worries, we have lined up regular visitors. Robbers beware. I can’t tell whether this is fascinating or whether this is worse than home movies in the 70s for you the reader. I’d love to know. I think I do it as I would like to follow along in the vacations of others.